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Microsoft created a portable data center the size of a shipping container connected by SpaceX satellites that can be placed anywhere — take a look

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Microsoft created a portable data center the size of a shipping container connected by SpaceX satellites that can be placed anywhere — take a look
  • Microsoft Azure, the brand's cloud computing arm, just announced a portable data center.
  • The new data center can be located anywhere with a satellite signal.

Microsoft Azure just announced a new design for modular, portable data centers. Azure is the company's cloud computing service, used by big names including Boeing, eBay, and Samsung.

The Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC) is designed to work just about anywhere, including nontraditional areas where cloud computing previously wouldn't have been possible. Data centers are the "backbone of the Internet," where data and photos from the cloud are physically stored.

This announcement was combined with information about a partnership with SpaceX to expand satellite broadband and support connections in more places where connections are unsecured or unavailable. Microsoft gives the example of data centers on a military mission, or providing humanitarian assistance after a natural disaster.

Here's a lok at some of the images Microsoft has released so far.

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The data centers look like shipping containers, with Microsoft's logo on them.

The data centers look like shipping containers, with Microsoft's logo on them.
Modular Datacenter. Microsoft

They are transported on the road by trailer. This one is already in use in Redmond, Washington on the Microsoft Campus. Others are in the early stages with defense contractors and some private sector companies.

They are transported on the road by trailer. This one is already in use in Redmond, Washington on the Microsoft Campus. Others are in the early stages with defense contractors and some private sector companies.
Modular Datacenter. Microsoft
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Microsoft renderings show some potential use cases for the data centers.

Microsoft renderings show some potential use cases for the data centers.
Modular Datacenter. Microsoft

In this case, the portable unit would be a field Datacenter during humanitarian relief missions.

In this case, the portable unit would be a field Datacenter during humanitarian relief missions.
Modular Datacenter. Microsoft
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The data centers will be important in places where networks are frequently disrupted, or not available at all. When the network connection isn't possible, they will connect to backup satellite connections.

The data centers will be important in places where networks are frequently disrupted, or not available at all. When the network connection isn't possible, they will connect to backup satellite connections.
Modular Datacenter. Microsoft

SpaceX Starlink will provide the high-speed satellites for the project.

SpaceX Starlink will provide the high-speed satellites for the project.
SpaceX SpaceX.
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Microsoft designed the unit to work in a range of climates and conditions, even if they are generally inhospitable. They will be equipped to block radio frequency interference and work in most temperatures and humidity levels.

Microsoft designed the unit to work in a range of climates and conditions, even if they are generally inhospitable. They will be equipped to block radio frequency interference and work in most temperatures and humidity levels.
Modular Datacenter. Microsoft

Microsoft has some experience creating data centers under unusual conditions.

Microsoft has some experience creating data centers under unusual conditions.
Microsoft Project Natick. Microsoft
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In 2018, Microsoft sunk an underwater data center off the coast of Scotland in an ambitious experiment. This summer, they retrieved it and found it was eight times more reliable than land-based data centers.

In 2018, Microsoft sunk an underwater data center off the coast of Scotland in an ambitious experiment. This summer, they retrieved it and found it was eight times more reliable than land-based data centers.
Microsoft Project Natick. Microsoft